Montclair Township Council Approves $2.6 Million in School Buildings and Grounds Improvements


MONTCLAIR, NJ - During the Montclair Township Council meeting held in council chambers on Tuesday, a resolution was passed appropriating $2.6 million for improvements to school buildings and grounds.  

The council devoted much of the 90-minute meeting to voting on pending ordinances, resolutions, and questioning the town engineer and director of community services about the milling and paving on Chestnut Street meandering towards Montclair High School.  No residents spoke at the meeting.

Mayor Robert Jackson wanted assurance that the work would be done by Tuesday as MHS parents, students, staff and MHS Principal James Earle “aren’t going to care one iota” about the reasons for the delay.

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“My concern is missing the first day of school. We need to talk about how we get from the contract being awarded to the work getting done,” said Jackson.

The contractor, present at the meeting, said the milling would get done on Thursday and Friday.

Acting Township Manager Tim Stafford added the paving would be done on Monday going south on Chestnut St. away from MHS, minimizing disruptions.

Mayor Jackson then asked Kim Craft, the town engineer, about a contracts' turnaround period.

She said two to three months is the standard completion time from awarding the bid to the project's completion.

Jackson said conditions need to be added that bids are awarded only with start dates. “This is a story we’ve heard before,” he added.

Deputy Mayor Robert Russo agreed, adding a completion date and other conditions were needed.

Township Attorney Ira Karasick advised that the council could enact penalty charges on contracts as an incentive.

Jackson also asked Craft about the Warman St. drainage issue and approximate costs to fix the decade-long concerns of residents.

Craft said the project would cost around $85,000.

Jackson responded, “That seems like a lot, but we need to get that done.”

He added, “It has been going on for years, a decade even.”

Councilor Sean Spiller also voiced his frustrations about the Warman St. issue being overlooked, neglected, imploring something be done this year, not next.

All seven Ordinances placed before the council were passed.

All eight Resolutions placed before the council were passed.

Karasick updated the council on recycling amendments, signed off on by the county, adding it is unlikely to increase costs or personnel needs.

Jackson responded to Karasick’s comments, “We’ll have to wait and see.”

Stafford said from Aug. 27 until Sept. 4 the N. Fullerton rail grade crossing would close for repairs, calling for residents to direct concerns to NJ Transit.

He added although the township did not have a water shortage, “it’s been a dry summer,” advocating residents “conserve water” and “reduce water use outside.”

Municipal Clerk Linda Wanat said Montclair saw four filmings this past week, including the Dr. Oz show.

She added the town is a “model for a film ordinance in the state of New Jersey.”

Councilor William Hurlock announced his ward, the first ward, would meet on Aug. 27 at the Bellevue Avenue Branch of the Montclair Public Library.

Spiller and Councilor Renee Baskerville also announced the third and fourth ward community meetings, slated for Sept. 10 and 29 at the library's main branch and fire headquarters respectively.

Councilor Rich McMahon read a proclamation at the top of the meeting in memory of Jean Kidd, a lifelong Montclair resident, born in 1933. She attended the Watchung school, was an activist involved in desegregating Montclair schools, and devoted 16 years to the Montclair PTA.

The council will hold its next meeting on September 1, 7 p.m., in the second floor conference room located at 205 Claremont Ave.


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